Interesting Facts about Our Nation’s Capitol

Below are some interesting facts about Washington, DC courtesy of Destination DC:

  1. Although DC residents pay taxes to the federal government, they do not have a voting representative in Congress. That’s why you may see license plates on cars that say “No Taxation without Representation.
  2. DC averages 39 inches of rainfall a year—more than Seattle.
  3. The first official White House Christmas Tree was decorated by Benjamin Harrison and family.
  4. The word “lobbyist” became popular with President Ulysses S. Grant’s disdain for the interestgroups who bothered him while he relaxed in the Willard Hotel’s lobby.
  5. Gallaudet University began the tradition of the football huddle in the 1890s, in order to conceal their signed plays from the opposing team.
  6. The U.S. government is based in DC, but the city is run by a mayor and the city council. The mayor and the city council members are elected to four year terms.
  7. The District of Columbia was named after the great explorer Christopher Columbus.
  8. The White House was being built while George Washington was in office, so he never actually lived there.
  9. The White House was originally called the “President’s Palace” or the “President’s House.” A Baltimore reporter once called it the “white house” in a newspaper article and the name caught on. Theodore Roosevelt made this the official name in 1901.
  10. That famous red phone that’s depicted in many movies isn’t actually in the Oval Office. It’s in the Pentagon.
  11. Just as the Supreme Court didn’t get a permanent home until 1932, the government didn’t provide an official residence for the Vice President until 1974.
  12. The Library of Congress, the biggest library in the U.S., contains 535 miles of bookshelves. In the Reading Room alone there are 45,000 reference books.
  13. Woodrow Wilson is the only president to live in Washington, DC after his terms in office. You can tour his former home, the Woodrow Wilson House Museum, located near DuPont Circle.
  14. Nationals Park is on track to be the first “green-certified” baseball stadium in the country.
  15. DC is a very international city, home to more than 170 embassies and international cultural centers. The city’s colleges and universities host about 20,000 international students each year, and 15% of DC residents speak a language other than English at home.
  16. The National Gallery of Art is home to the Ginevra de Benci, the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in the Western Hemisphere.
  17. There are no skyscrapers in DC. Many people believe that this is because of a law saying that the Capitol was to be the tallest in the city. In fact, the fire department put limits on building heights in 1894 because their firefighting equipment wouldn’t reach high enough to keep tall buildings safe. Congress later set limits on the heights of buildings in DC, 90 feet for homes and apartments and 110 feet for office buildings. In 1989, the Height of Buildings Act was passed, ensuring that the city skyline wouldn’t be dominated by skyscrapers.
  18. There is one building that is taller than the Capitol, the Cairo apartment building, located at the corner of 16th and Q Streets, NW. It was built before the laws were passed limiting the height of buildings. It stands 165 feet tall.
  19. The Washington Monument is taller than all buildings, measuring 555 1/8”.
  20. While the famous people you associate in DC may be politicians, it’s also the hometown of famous musicians like Duke Ellington, John Phillips Sousa, Roberta Flack and Chuck Brown.
  21. DC was voted the most walk-able city in the U.S. in a study by the Brookings Institution in 2007.
  22. The Capitol Dome took 11 years to build. On top of the dome is the “Statue of Freedom,” which may look small, but it’s actually 19 feet 6 inches tall and weighs approximately 15,000 pounds.

Facts © 2011 Destination DC

Churchill has short-term temporary housing available in Washington, D.C. and throughout Maryland. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or for more information.

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